Monday, June 29, 2015

Barbecue News You Can Use if You Choose

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 8:50 AM

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If you're planning to grill out sometime over the July Fourth weekend, like the rest of America, you might be looking for some inspiration. Or you might be seeking out a new piece of smoking apparatus, no not that kind! I'm talking about a real, honest-to-goodness competition-grade smoker that will up your outdoor cooking game.

The model I'm lusting after comes from none other than The Peg Leg Porker himself, Carey Bringle. In addition to his success as a restaurateur, Bringle also has a long history of competitive barbecue trophies. He also has experience in fabricating smokers, both for himself and some of his friends. Now he's taking his hobby to the commercial production scale with the rollout of his Peg Leg Porker brand of professional-grade competition smokers.

Designed by Bringle and fabricated locally, these smokers are by no means cheap, especially compared to the thin-walled big-box specials you can pick up at the parking lot of your local Lowes Depot. These bad boys retail for about four grand apiece, but with a solid steel welded exterior body coated with a layer of grease-resistant and insulating NitroPlate, this is a cooking device you can hand down to your grandkids. NitroPlate is the same stuff used to paint auto mufflers, so you know it can stand up to abuse.

The unit is compact, standing about 53 inches tall, but contains 16 cubic feet of cooking area on five carbon steel racks. The racks are designed to hold a full hotel pan, which makes it ideal for restaurant use as well as for the ambitious home smoker. The smoker sits on rolling casters and has handles to help maneuver it around your deck to get it out of the way, but you'd better reinforce those supports under your back porch. If this sounds like something you'd like to investigate, email Carey directly at

Whether you're cooking on a professional smoker or not, you can still use championship recipes to up your game. The folks at Jack Daniel's who put on the annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue competition reached out to some past champions for some recipes to graciously share. It's no surprise that all the ingredients use Lynchburg's finest as an ingredient, but feel free to check them out after the jump and appropriate them as your own.

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Help Yourself to Free Moose Tracks Ice Cream and Help House Veterans

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 7:41 AM

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We at Bites are always on the lookout for free ice cream, and we've learned that tomorrow from 11 a.m. 3 p.m. at Walk of Fame Park you can get free scoops while simultaneously assisting Operation Finally Home of Nashville, an organization that helps house wounded or disabled veterans and their families. The event is sponsored by Denali Flavors — developers of the Moose Tracks ice cream — and local Moose Tracks purveyor Purity Dairy. I

n an effort dubbed the 10,000 Scoop Challenge, Denali Flavors and their dairy partners are teaming up toward a goal of serving 10,000 scoops of ice cream. For every scoop they give away, they will donate $1 to Operation Finally Home.

Moose Tracks ice cream is a vanilla base (Purity sells a chocolate base as well, in addition to a yogurt and light version) swirled with fudge and chocolate-covered peanut butter cups. During the event, Denali Flavors’ Mikey the Moose will make an appearance, and fans will be served by “celebrity scoopers.”

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekly Open Thread: The Quest for Effective Hangover Cures

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 8:43 AM

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In this week's Scene, our glorious leader Jim Ridley takes on a natural sequel to last week's "Adventures in Drinking" issue: the quest for efficacious hangover remedies. His colorful description of the dreaded ailment:

The skull that throbs like Deadmau5's helmet. The aching limbs. The lurching, gurgling stomach, pounding its shoe to be recognized ahead of your pickled liver and your straining kidneys. Every movement plants a knife blade behind your eyes. Every noise amplifies like someone crunching that canoe-sized stalk of celery Woody Allen lugs around in Sleeper. You try to sleep it off, but when you close your eyes you might as well be in Mammoth Cave with a marching band and a horny rhino.

Now, we at the Scene never endorse overindulgence (it's better to live to drink another day, and a hangover will make you feel worse than dead), but we are curious about what miracle cure might ease a hangover should we ever accidentally suffer one.

Ridley consulted a few experts and pored over Nashville's ancient hangover lore to come up with a few suggestions, including Pedialyte (to ease alcohol-induced dehydration) and an old bartender remedy: angostura bitters and soda water (a combo that apparently settles a rocky stomach). Meanwhile, he notes that generations of Nashvillians have sworn by hot chicken (particularly, "in the wee-morning weekend hours when the skies over Dickerson Road were lit by the glow of Prince's blazing iron skillets") and also a loaded-up plate of eggs and extras, like the venerable Grill Cook's Medley at Pancake Pantry.

But I want to crowd-source this sucker. A commenter at the bottom of Ridley's story, a sage by the name of "theanony" suggests this: "Beef pho, all the raw jalapenos added to the bowl, and a Vietnamese iced coffee. Back in business in no time."

What's your advice, Bites folk? And what else is on your mind this week?

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Corbin in the Dell Plans Nashville Farmers' Market Pop-Up and Carry-Out

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 7:28 AM

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  • Corbin in the kitchen at the World FOod Championships
Local food entrepreneur Melissa Corbin is best known for her venture Corbin in the Dell, where she works with local farmers and chefs to help place fresh farm ingredients on menus and in kitchens all over town. But she is also a pretty impressive chef herself, as is evidenced by her participation in last year's World Food Championships, where she showcased local ingredients as part of her competitive dishes in the Dessert category.

Now she's showcasing her chops for the home crowd as part of a new series of Corbin in the Dell pop-ups at the Grow Local Kitchen at the Nashville Farmers' Market. Starting 6 to 8 p.m. tonight (Friday, June 26), Corbin will be dishing out Tennessee Wagyu Sliders for dining in or carry-out for diners who want a quick and delicious dinner before the Nashville Sounds game or just to enjoy at home. If you haven't tried Tennessee Wagyu yet, they are one of Corbin's clients, and representatives of the farm will drop by during the evening to answer your questions about this truly special protein.

Corbin is rounding out her kitchen staff during the event with Pastry Chef Ashley Jent, who also competed in last year's WFC. That's a lot of talent in one kitchen! The team will also offer a vegetarian option featuring seasonal specialties from The Peach Truck.

Corbin is excited at the chance to share her kitchen skills with Nashville: “I may never want a restaurant of my own, but I sure do love to cook. Now I want to share my farm and artisan relationships with folks who give a damn about where their food comes from." Drop by tonight for a taste of some exceptional Tennessee beef and the chance to share in Corbin's passion for local products.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Signings Set for Nicki P. Wood's Southern Cooking for Company

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 12:54 PM

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Southern Cooking for Company is the latest cookbook from Nicki Pendleton Wood, who's a longtime Nashville Scene and Bites contributor and a veteran journalist, food author and cookbook editor. For this book, she appealed to a wide network of food lovers and creators across the South to share the recipes that they love to make for dinner parties and special occasions as well as their tips for being great hosts.

Though the title references “Southern cooking,” this book isn’t about fried chicken and pie; recipes from today’s Southern cooks incorporate a lot of ethnic and regional influences, and the book reflects this trend.

The book contains more than 200 recipes for appetizers, breakfast and brunch, breads, main dishes, side dishes (including casseroles and salads) and desserts. Contributors to the book include a number of locally and nationally known food bloggers, who shared some of their favorite recipes. Along with the standard list and instructions, each recipe has an introduction, which is something I prefer in a cookbook; I love a little background and a cook’s note about preparation or service.

Wood is hosting two upcoming signing events to promote the book that will give you a chance to check it out and talk with her. The first is 6:30 p.m. July 2 at Parnassus Books, with some appetizers and wine (because you’re company!), and the second is 7 p.m. July 9 at Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt.

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Achieve Euphoria in Greenville, S.C.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 8:51 AM

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Each year that the Music City Food + Wine Festival announces their lineup and pricing, I hear a little grumbling about the cost of the event and questions about "why should I pay this much to eat food from chefs I can visit any time I want?" My response has always been that I'm pretty sure that attendance is still voluntary, and plenty of people somehow manage to have an extremely good time at the festival.

But less facetiously, I like to remind people that a lot of times these festivals are aimed at visitors at least as much as at locals. That's part of the reason why the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. is such an ardent supporter of the event. Culinary tourism is a real thing, and festivals are a great way to get out-of-towners to visit Music City during the offseason. (If such a thing still exists in an "it city.")

But it's all good; if you don't want to got to MCFWF, I've got an alternative for you that might just reinforce my point. The exact same weekend, another up-an-coming Southern culinary community is holding their big food festival. In fact, it's the 10th edition of Euphoria in Greenville, S.C., an easy half-day drive from Nashville. For a town of their size, the organizers have put together an impressive roster of culinary talent for their upcoming festival, although Nashville chefs are pretty much occupied that weekend.

Even without Nashville chef participation, Euphoria has plenty of talent cooking at demos, special events and tasting tents throughout the weekend of Sept. 17-20. National luminaries like Art Smith, David Guas, Frank Lee, John Currence, John Fleer, Katie Button, Steven Satterfield and Annie Pettry have all chosen to spend their time in Greenville to share their wares with festival attendees, so that's a pretty impressive roster even before you augment the list with lots of local chefs as well.

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Free Scoops (at Last): Jeni's Ice Creams to Open in Hillsboro Village Next Week

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 7:44 AM

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Last week, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams reopened its scoop shops, ending a second companywide closure due to listeria contamination in the production kitchen. The return was a cause of rejoicing for legions of Jeni's fans.

But the company still hasn't opened the doors to the location in Hillsboro Village, which had been scheduled to be the fourth Jeni's store in Nashville (after East Nashville, 12South and the Nashville Farmers' Market). That store's initial launch was supposed to be on June 12, but the second shutdown was issued just hours before the opening.

Today, happily, the company announced a new opening night party next week for the Hillsboro Village scoop shop. It's scheduled for 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, July 2.

The Hillsboro Village store is at 1819 21st Ave. S., in the new Hill Center Acklen, a retail-and-residential development. Founder Jeni Britton Bauer is scheduled to host the opening party, and the company says the first 50 people in line will each get a ceramic mug.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chef Richard Blais Coming to Flip Burger to Sign His Cookbook

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 2:19 PM

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It didn't take long for Nashville to fall in love with chef Richard Blais' new Flip Burger emporium on Charlotte. His combination of inventive burgers, boozy milkshakes made with liquid nitrogen and a full bar with creative cocktails led to immediate lines out the door at lunch and dinner, and the crowds have barely subsided since opening early this year.

The ex-Top Chef contestant has a following that extends beyond markets where he has restaurant locations, and his first cookbook, Try This at Home: Recipes From My Head to Your Plate, published in 2013, was a big seller. Written with Top Chef jefe Tom Colicchio, the book contains more than 125 recipes that showcase Blais' wacky attitude toward creating bold flavors and textures as well as tips and tricks on how you can re-create them in your own kitchen.

Chef Blais is coming to town tomorrow (Thursday, June 25) at 5:30 p.m. to sign copies of his book at Flip Burger (4111 Charlotte Ave.). For two hours, he'll mingle with guests and sell copies for his James Beard-nominated books for $30. It turns out that the Nashville location is the first generation of a new prototype of future Flip locations that Blais is calling "Flip Forward," so he's paying special attention to our link in the chain.

Head on over for a burger and a shake tomorrow night and let Chef Blais know what you think of Flip. I think you'll find he is a very engaging, yet thoughtful young chef who cares what his customers think.

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Nut Butter Nation Joins Nashville's Newest Food Entrepreneurs

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM

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A few weeks ago, I got an email from a friend wanting to connect me with friends of hers who’d just started a business making peanut butter, Nut Butter Nation. I’m not a fan of peanut butter, but I was interested to talk to one of Nashville’s many culinary entrepreneurs. If you haven’t noticed, there’s not just a growth spurt in restaurants and food trucks, but in well-crafted and “artisanal” food products.

Certainly, Nashville has a history of successful food products; Goo Goo Clusters and Christie Cookies come to mind, as well as relative newcomer, Olive and Sinclair. The numerous commissaries around town — including The Cook’s Kitchen and Mesa Komal — offer space for entrepreneurs to get started with their businesses. Add a population that’s clearly eager (and hungry!) for new and interesting foods, and it all makes Nashville a great place to get started.

That’s just a portion of what Grant Ellis, “head grinder” at Nut Butter Nation and I discussed. They are currently operating out of The Cook’s Kitchen but are expanding so rapidly (they just started in earnest in April of this year) that they’re already planning their own dedicated facility. A big part of the success, Ellis says, was the community of entrepreneurs here who are so willing to help out. He mentioned that Dan Stephenson of Dan’s Gourmet Mac & Cheese, Ryan Pruitt of Frothy Monkey and Will Newman of Edley’s Bar-B-Que were particularly helpful in guiding the way through the difficult questions about packaging, suppliers, partnerships, and just about any other question he had when getting started and being very supportive overall.

However, none of that would have helped all that much if it weren’t for a key factor: The Nut Butter Nation peanut butter is good.

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Lots More Local Craft Beer Collaborations to Fill Your Stein

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 8:38 AM

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As competitive as the world of megabreweries has become (think Miller/Coors vs. AMBev/Budweiser), it's great to see that Nashville's craft beer community continues to come together in all sorts of innovative ways for the benefit of the drinking class. From parties to special cooperative brewings to unusual beer/food pairings, there's lots of god beer news brewing in Music City. So fill up your pint glass and follow along.

The first bit of news comes courtesy of Chef Mike Arnold, Missouri's 2nd Shift Brewing and the folks at Craft Brewed, at 2502 Franklin Pike. This Thursday, June 25, from 5-8 pm they'll be coming together to present an ice cream social, just in time for the mercury to top 95 degrees on the thermometer. That's right, beer and ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Beer ice cream!

Mike Arnold has a particular talent for creating ice creams and sorbets using beer as the base, and the samples I've experienced have been really extraordinary. For this particular event, $16 gets you a flight of four beers with accompanying frozen treats. They'll be serving Katy American Brett and SubMission West Coast IPA ice creams, and Hibiscus Wit sorbet, served with samplings of the brews used to make the desserts, plus Green Bird Gose as a bonus beer. The ice cream/beer flight can easily be shared by two people with the option to add a full 12-ounce pour of any of the 2nd Shift beers for $4 more.

The second collaboration is between a popular downtown taproom and a new local brewery. Eric Woodard runs The Picnic Tap in the Nashville Farmers' Market, but before he got into the retail side of the business, Woodard was a homebrewer. So when he decided he wanted to offer a custom product for his taproom, he went to one of his old recipes and sought out a partner to brew it on a larger scale for him. He made contact with Scott Swygert at Honky Tonk Brewing Co. in Metro Center with the idea of producing The Picnic Tap's first house beer, Honey Biscuit Blonde Ale.

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